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K-State Today

November 5, 2012



Putting students first earns two faculty members nominations for national award

By Bethany Bohn

Two Kansas State University faculty members have been nominated for a national award for their work with K-State First.

Gregory Eiselein, professor of English, and Lisa Last, director of academic services for the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, will represent the university for the National Resource Center Outstanding First-Year Students Advocates Award. Eiselein and Last were nominated by K-State First to represent the university at the national competition, which will be part of the 32nd annual conference on the First-Year Experience in February 2013 in Orlando, Fla. Winners will be notified as early as Nov. 30.

Eiselein pioneered the K-State First student engagement efforts with programs such as CAT Communities; GPS, or Guide to Personal Success; K-State Book Network; and First-Year Seminars. Each year, these programs have expanded to meet increasing demand for services to help high school students' transition to college. In 2008, 270 students in 16 sections commenced his vision. Today there are 1,000 students in 46 sections. Eiselein's work with the Undergraduate Task Force laid the groundwork for the K-State Eight system. He also was the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Last is a member of the nationally recognized College of Architecture, Planning and Design. She is charged with helping 180 first-year students transition into the college's selective and rigorous professional graduate programs. The environmental design studies program is the first year of academic study for four accredited nonbaccalaureate master's programs. It is the only program of its kind in the nation. In addition to her work within the college, Last is involved in several university committees that are focused on first-year students and programs. Last is recognized by her colleagues for her ability to challenge and support students while they navigate through their first year.

Nominators called Eiselein and Last highly qualified, dedicated, innovative and teamwork-oriented professionals who are the epitome of commitment and integrity. Working cooperatively is a natural strength attributed to each nominee, and both candidates have demonstrated the value of using numerous resources in order to implement complex, yet highly effective programming endeavors. Moreover, Eiselein and Last were commended for understanding the demands placed on students and seeing their potential for success.